Fussy Baby - Tips for fussy eaters
After School is a great window of opportunity to get your child to eat something healthy as they generally come home starving having rushed lunch to spend time with their friends in the playground. A hungry child is a less fussy child. Unfortunately a lot of children cant wait and end up diving into the biscuit tin or grabbing a chocolate bar. A few simple ideas and a few minutes spent in preparation can make a big difference to your child’s diet. Instead of whole fruit in a fruit bowl cut up a selection of colourful fruits and arrange them on a plate. Have healthy snacks like mini cheeses, dried fruit, a bowl of salad with a tasty dressing on the table so that your child eats these rather than crisps or chocolate biscuits. Keep a low shelf in the fridge stocked with tasty healthy snacks like wraps, pitta pockets or a chicken pasta salad.
1) Only buy the foods that you want your fussy baby or child to eat.
2) Avoid empty calorie snacks like crisps or soft drinks and keep a supply of healthy snacks on hand – maybe have a low shelf in the fridge with cut up fresh fruit and other healthy foods. When children are hungry, they won’t wait.
3) Blind Man’s Grub. If you have a little ‘junk food junkie’ who refuses to try anything new, play a game where you blindfold your child and give him several foods to taste, some old favourites and some new and see if he can identify what they are!
4) Too much food on a plate can be off putting. Keep portions small and give second helpings if requested. You can make individual portions of food like shepherd’s pie in ramekin dishes it is much more appealing than a dollop of food on a plate.
5) If your child is underweight and not eating well they need as much energy (calories) as possible. Choose full fat dairy products like cheese, and avoid using ‘low fat’ dairy products.
6) Start your child off on fresh baby food rather than jars of processed baby food with a shelf life of two years. If they are used to a variety of fresh flavours early on they are much less likely to become fussy eaters when you try to integrate them into family meal times.
7) If children will not eat vegetables, create recipes that vegetables can be blended into such as a tomato and vegetable sauce for pasta or a creamy tomato soup made with carrots and onions. What children can’t see, they can’t pick out. Also many children who don’t like cooked vegetables will eat raw vegetables like carrot sticks, sweet pepper etc with a tasty dip.
8) When a child comes home from school he is usually very hungry so this is a good time to give healthy food. Instead of whole fruit in a fruit bowl cut up a selection of colourful fruits into bite sized pieces. Have healthy snacks like mini cheeses, dried fruit, a bowl of salad with a tasty dressing on the table so that your child eats these rather than crisps or chocolate biscuits.
9) Give your child scope to assert her independence, perhaps by letting her choose two out of the three vegetables offered to her.
10) Inviting another child over for tea, preferably one with a good appetite tends to be a good ruse. Invariably you will find that your child will eat what is offered provided her friend is eating it too!
11) Once a child’s palate has become accustomed to the intense sweetness of refined sugary foods it is harder for them to appreciate the more gentle natural sweetness of fruit. If you want your child to enjoy fresh fruit, restrict sugary foods.
12) Mealtimes are social occasions so set a good example by eating with your child as often as possible. You can’t expect your child to realise that meal times involve sitting down in one place for some time unless he sees you and the rest of the family doing the same thing. Try to avoid distractions at mealtimes like television.
13) If your child absolutely refuses to eat his veg, create recipes that vegetables can be blended into such as a tomato sauce with pasta and you can blend vegetables like carrot, courgette and mushroom into the sauce so that they are invisible? You can also make ‘healthy junk food’ like chicken or beef burgers with grated carrot and apple mixed in and this keeps them deliciously moist. What children can’t see, they can’t pick out.
14) Also many children who don’t like cooked vegetables may enjoy eating raw vegetables like carrot sticks, sweet pepper etc with a tasty dip.